Virtual Assistants

Personal Assistant Salary Guide 2024: Factors, Averages, & Comparisons

Standard Operating Procedures for an executive assistant job description. personal assistant salary

Every executive should know what personal assistant salary to offer in 2024. Anyone who has ever needed help to can through each day smoothly knows the value of a good assistant. And only the best personal assistant can offer you that unique kind of help that you need. 

Before we dive into this salary guide, we’ll cover the basics surrounding personal assistants. This includes who they are and what they do. Then we’ll go over the factors that influence salaries.

What Do Personal Assistants Do?

A personal assistant can have a wide variety of responsibilities. The most common, however, revolve around being a kind of point person for the one they work for. That said, most people who hire personal assistants in the first place are business owners or other high-level executives. 

A personal assistant to one of these positions will usually mean acting as a point of contact between them and everyone else. This includes anyone who works at the same company and everyone outside the company, too. For example, an assistant can field questions from managers who report to the executive. They can also filter through all communications from clients. Then, they bring up only the information that the boss needs to know or handle personally. Managing communications, therefore, includes screening phone calls and making judgment calls about which correspondence to distribute.

How Much Do Personal Assistants Earn?

Personal assistants don’t all earn the same. The rate range is, however, somewhat regulated. We’ll look at the national averages and what that means.

Current national average salary for personal assistants

A national average salary for personal assistants is the median value across a particular nation. The average base salary for a personal assistant in the US is about $16 per hour. Rates can go as low as $8.50 and as high as $30 per hour. That comes to about $37,000 – $64,000 per year, with bonuses being rare. 

The vast difference, which is nearly triple the low end of the spectrum, is due to several factors. For the national averages, the most influential factors are skill level and experience, education and certification, and specialization and industry demand. We will talk more about these in the next section. 

Location is the next biggest influencer of the highs and lows. When we think about a global talent pool, the rate range differences can be wildly different, as you can imagine.

Comparison to other related professions

Here are a few US national yearly averages in relatively the same area as personal assistants, from Comparably:

Personal Assistant $52,000

Senior Personal Assistant $61,500

Executive Personal Assistant $73,000

Executive Administrative Assistant $56,000

Personal Shopping Assistant $43,500

Executive Assistant $66,000

Factors Affecting Personal Assistant Salaries

A woman counting US dollar bills. personal assistant salary

Personal assistant salary rates can vary widely, especially when we include all virtual possibilities. A few major factors can influence these rates, which we tackle below. 

Note that other factors can pop up as you read through applications and interview candidates. The best way top handle these is to ask the candidates directly. The ones who know what they’re doing will be able to give you reasonable explanations for the rates they have set.

Experience and skills required for higher salaries

The more years one has under their belt, the higher they can expect to be paid. The same is true for personal assistants. Although the work can be very personalized, a personal assistant doesn’t have to relearn everything with every new boss. For starters, one can always get better at being more flexible and adjusting to new bosses! 

Below are some skills that a personal assistant can gain and improve upon with time:

  • Typing – accuracy and speed
  • Dictation – accuracy and speed
  • Booking – inter-system coordination (hotels, transportation, etc.) and tie-ins with various means and modes (transportation, VoIP and phone conference calls, etc.)
  • Email management – efficiency and organization, customer satisfaction

Education and certifications

We are not aware of any university-level courses specifically for personal assistants. However, any degree of education can help because of the discipline it instills and the flexibility it produces. That said, we do see a wide variety of certifications available. These are, again, not specific to personal assistants. However, like the following, they can increase the value of a hire’s contribution to the boss:

  • Basic Virtual Assistant Training
  • Assistant Mindset
  • Shorthand
  • Meetings Management and Taking Minutes
  • Email Management
  • Microsoft Office Certification
  • Productivity and Time Management 
  • Calendar Management 
  • Digital Tools Suite

Specialization and industry demand

Some assistants choose to specialize in a certain industry like fashion or education. Others move around industries but focus on specific skillsets, like time management. If you are looking for a rockstar in any specific area, you need to be prepared to reward them properly. They haven, after all, earned expertise in a specific area. 

Regional Differences in Personal Assistant Salaries

Location is always a factor when you talk about salary ranges. Even within the same country, you can see surprising differences. 

Some maps spread out on top of each other.

Explanation of regional salary variations

The main reason for varying rate ranges is the state of economies. Some countries and states or provinces within a country are more and less expensive to live in. This is basically because of the value of the resources and industry within that area. When the earning potential increases in an area, the value if living in that area also increases. This drives up the costs of living, which influences how much money people living there need to earn. 

Top regions with the highest personal assistant salaries

In the US, according to ZipRecruiter, the states that paid the highest for personal assistant services in 2023 are Alaska and Massachusetts, followed closely by Washington, Nevada, and Colorado. The lowest rates for Personal assistants were found in Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, West Virginia, and finally, Florida. 

Highest paying cities in the United States for personal assistants

If we get more granular with the data, Indeed shows us that the numbers do not follow the state averages. The highest paying city is New York, NY with an average of $69,500 per year. Charlotte, NC is next, with an annual average salary of about $58,300, then Austin, TX at $55,600 per year. 

Benefits and Perks for Personal Assistants

Most personal assistants don’t earn a lot, and don’t get a lot of bonuses and perks. This means that anyone looking to hire a great assistant can take advantage of this gap. If you can offer one or all of the following options, you can attract top-tier assistants. And this can do wonders without having to meet the highest personal assistant salary rates out there.

Health insurance options

Especially if you are hiring globally, health insurance can be a very attractive add-on. Most freelancers will not enjoy any type of insurance from their clients. This is because freelancers so not fall into the same category as employees. Companies who hire freelancers are, therefore, not required to provide the same benefits. Since health insurance can be quite pricey, offering to cover this is a nice perk.

Retirement plans

Looking at retirement for freelancers does not make as much sense as health insurance, for example. That is, unless you expect to keep a hire on over the long term. Consider offering a retirement plan to a hire as a bonus for long-term service. If you find someone you love working with and have had several wonderful years together, this can be icing on the cake for them.

Paid time off

Again, this is especially attractive to freelancers, who will not often get any pain time off. Only regular employees are granted such benefits under the law. Most governments look at freelancers as solopreneurs, so they are responsible for their own vacations, etc. You can throw this in as a performance incentive. For the really amazing hires, you can even offer a trip for two to some place nearby. This way, it’s not too heavy on your budget, but they can enjoy for a weekend and come back to work refreshed.

Additional perks and bonuses

The above are just a few of the more common benefits you can offer a personal assistant. Of course, the good old cash bonus is one of our favorite go-tos. We also love arranging meet-ups with our valued teams. This works if you want to take a personal assistant out for dinner, meet them for the first time in person, or throw a party for all your offshore hires.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


We hope this personal assistant salary guide helped you navigate the rate ranges for different tiers of assistants. Depending on what you need, you can usually find a great hire globally. That is, as long as you don’t need them to be with you in person. Global hires also have generally lower rates than you would expect to pay locally. If you want to know more about rates for hires outside of the US, check out our post on outsourcing to India. We also have one on the cost of virtual assistant Philippines, among many other articles on hiring from the Philippines specifically. We also discuss the benefits of hiring Latino virtual assistants and outsourcing to Mexico.

Virtual Assistants

Personal Assistant Job Description: Roles, Responsibilities, Templates

A smiling woman holding a smartphone.

When you write a personal assistant job description, you want to get it right. The best job posting usually attracts the best candidates. Naturally, the most suitable person is the one you want to hire for the job.

In this post, we’ll go over the common roles and responsibilities of a personal assistant. We’ll also give you a few templates that you can use as a starting point. As you craft your own job description, keep in mind any additional items that you should include.

What is a Personal Assistant?

A personal assistant, similar to an executive assistant, does mostly clerical work. This includes answering phone calls, relying to emails, scheduling appointments, purchasing tickets, and booking hotels. Usually, people who hire personal assistants are business owners or senior-level staff members of a company. They work with the boss on a one-to-one basis, helping with a variety of aspects that relate to their work. This means that an assistant must know how to cater to these busy individuals’ needs in a very personalized way. 

A responsible personal assistant will know how to provide secretarial and administrative support. This entails being highly organized to accomplish tasks accurately and on time. The best assistants know how to prioritize tasks without being micromanaged. 

Key Responsibilities of a Personal Assistant

A personal assistant needs to do an array of clerical or administrative tasks. We can give you the most common ones, but the tasks are specific to their boss’s work life. This means that they can vary based on the needs of the individual who is hiring them.

Managing scheduling and calendars for the hiring party

Most personal assistants will, at some point, manage a work calendar. This mostly entails scheduling meetings, which can be within the company. Some scheduling involves personal appointments and arranging meetings with other company executives. 

A calendar can get pretty full, so an assistant needs to know how to set limits. For example, a manager might want to limit meetings to 30 minutes each and have no more than three meetings per day. 

Handling all communication and correspondence on behalf of the hiring party

A personal assistant will need to know how to skillfully handle all kinds of communications. They are the point of contact between the executive in their professional capacity and most everybody else. This includes company staff, business clients and contacts, and even family members during business hours. 

Examples of managing company communications include screening phone calls. The assistant will connect the boss with people on the other end of the line only under specific circumstances. This means that the assistant needs to know how to evaluate a caller and their reason for calling. When it comes to passing along messages, the assistant will also have a system for judging which messages need to be specifically communicated. The boss and the assistant usually develop this communication system together to appropriately manage requests.

People at a table working on laptops.

Organizing and coordinating travel arrangements and itineraries

Many business executives travel. This means an array of bookings, including accommodations, meals, and activities. If the boss is the hosting party, they may also need to book venues and accommodations for participants. Then they need to coordinate transportation. This includes transportation from the point of origin to the destination, and one locale to another, or point-to-point transportation. 

Travel arrangements can get a lot more complicated than it looks on the surface. A good personal assistant takes the boss’s personal preferences into consideration at every step. 

Conducting research and preparing reports or presentations as required

Personal assistants will often do a bunch of tasks that executives would rather not do. Let’s just be honest – every successful executive has to manage their time well. This means passing off tasks like doing research and creating reports and designing presentations. Usually, unless the company has a specific department for it, these tasks go to their personal assistant.

Required Skills and Qualifications for a Personal Assistant

The best assistants have certain skills that qualify them for the job. These can differ depending on what the boss wants them to do. Below are some of the most basic ones.

Excellent organizational and time management skills

Because a personal assistant will usually juggle many moving parts, they need to be highly organized. This includes great time management skills, which includes the ability to prioritize. 

Effective communication skills, both written and verbal

Personal assistants need to be excellent communicators because most of their job is communicating. They work one-on-one with business owners and other executives. They field all kinds of questions from within the company and from outside sources. A personal assistant needs to be accurate at all times will all kinds of written and verbal communication. This means understanding what’s incoming and making sure all other parties understand all the outgoing stuff.

Proficiency in using productivity tools and software

The best personal assistants will know the best productivity tools and software because they thrive on these. If you need to up your performance game, ask an executive assistant for tips! These professionals know how to make the most of these tools to stay as productive as possible day in and day out.

Strong problem-solving abilities

Apart from staying organized and maintaining accuracy, personal assistants need to be problem-solvers. This is not an easy job where anyone can just breeze through every day. Personal assistants are like the guards at the gates to every executive. They need to hold down the fort and make sure things run smoothly. When trouble comes knocking, they must know how to handle it smoothly and quickly.

A person with documents and a pen typing on a laptop.

Education and Experience Requirements for a Personal Assistant

Experience is more highly valued than educational attainment for most assistant jobs. Below are the usual minimums for your average personal assistant.

High school diploma or equivalent is usually required

Most companies will require this level of education simply because of the need for strong communication skills. It also means a basic understanding of general principles of life and business, which is important.

Additional certifications or training in office administration is desirable

More than general education, a person with specific certifications can get hired faster. Companies highly value administrative training, whether learned as a course or through apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.

Prior experience in a similar role is preferred but not always necessary

A personal assistant who has worked in the same role before can find it easier to find similar work. However, since the job is highly personalized, business owners and executives will not always require specific related experience. As long as a candidate has the skills and qualifications, they will be happy to hire someone new.

Sample Personal Assistant Job Description Template

For most personal assistant job description templates, you will find the following basic key sections:

  • Introduction or overview of the position
  • Key responsibilities section with bullet points
  • Required skills and qualifications section with bullet points
  • Benefits and perks offered by the hiring party

Below are some templates we like from a few trusted sources.


Here’s a template generated by Workable’s free tool.

Workable Personal assistant job description generator


Here’s one featured on LinkedIn’s Business’s talent solutions site.

LinkedIn personal assistant job description template


Here’s a template from the Betterteam job posting platform.

Betterteam personal assistant job description template

Frequently Asked Questions

Who does a Personal Assistant report to?

A personal assistant will report to whoever they are personally assisting. Usually, they work for the owners of companies or other high-level executives in these companies. However, anyone can hire a personal assistant if they want to.

Do Personal Assistants have different responsibilities in different industries?

Personal assistants can have very different roles and responsibilities, depending on the people they work for. In different industries, these variations in tasks can vary wildly. Just think about how many differences there are among individual needs plus all the differences in jobs and you’ll get the idea.

What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and an Office Administrator?

A personal assistant focuses on helping one person do their job more effectively. An office administrator is also responsible for effective operations, but on a higher scale. They manage entire departments or offices versus taking care of one person’s needs.

How can one become a successful Personal Assistant?

The most successful personal assistants are those people who can serve the best. This means doing what an individual needs to function properly at work. Of course, there are limitations to what someone can ask a personal assistant to do.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


What do you want to emphasize on your personal assistant job description? Make sure that you include everything that is most important to you. After all, the best hire for this job is the one who can meet your personal requirements the best.

Virtual Assistants

Admin Assistant vs Executive Assistant: 10 Key Differences

Two women looking at a laptop computer screen. admin assistant vs executive assistant

Admin assistant vs executive assistant: what’s the difference? 

If you are someone who was never sure of the distinction and overlaps between these two positions, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. 

Here, we will go through 10 main facets of these job positions. Our goal is to help you understand each of them and be able to tell them apart. Let’s get started!

1. Comparison of Roles

Admin Assistant

Their responsibilities center around administrative tasks or back-office duties. These are usually organizational in nature and require those who are good managers of time, personnel, and, at times, resources. Every industry has administrative needs, whether it’s finance, medicine, or fashion. Admin assistants can also have specialized roles and responsibilities depending on the company, department, or industry they work in. For instance, an admin assistant could be proficient in areas like inbox management and CRM. Their clerical role helps keep the office running and running smoothly.

Executive Assistant

As the name suggests, their focus is making the lives of chief executives easier. Their role usually molds around the specific needs of their bosses. These assistants may also work on administrative tasks, but they have other main roles. Companies can hire them on to perform project management tasks, administrative duties and even fulfill the role of an executive PA (personal assistant). 

2. Duties and Responsibilities

Admin Assistant

  • Maintain complete and regularly updated records
  • Create and maintain a data filing system
  • Organize and filter emails and other communications
  • Respond to communications
  • Prepare internal and external communications for teams, departments, clients, etc. 
  • Schedule internal and external meeting and maintain calendars
  • Perform some bookkeeping and customer service duties
  • Help prepare documents and reports
  • Perform research
  • Keep track of office inventory and schedule restocks 

Executive Assistant

EAs also perform the above administrative duties, just at a higher level. Other than admin, an executive virtual assistant can help your business by taking on management and leadership duties. 

An EA can:

  • Schedule meetings and follow up with high-profile clients
  • Serve as the point of contact between other executives, clients, and partners
  • Manage the executive’s emails and perform inbox management duties
  • Make travel arrangements for executives and teams
  • Create reports and presentations
  • Take minutes for important meetings
  • Attend and sometimes lead meetings on behalf of executives
  • Manage other admin assistants
  • Perform project management duties

Note: These lists are not exhaustive but hopefully they help you compare admin assistant vs executive assistant duties. 

3. Skills Required

People using a laptop, representing virtual assistant skills. admin assistant vs executive assistant

Here are some of the most common skills companies ask/look for when hiring for these positions.

Admin Assistant

  • Organization skills 
  • Time management skills 
  • Software and tools skills (Ex. Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, Slack, etc.) 
  • Attention to detail
  • Proficiency in written and verbal communication (and adapting to the type of content being written)
  • Flexibility and Resourcefulness 
  • Problem-solving skills (able to come up with solutions to various problems)
  • Adaptability (able to learn new skills to tackle different admin responsibilities and evolving technology requirements)
  • Research skills
  • Inbox management skills
  • Some employers may also also include bookkeeping, CRM (customer relationship management), and social media management skills

Executive Assistant

  • All the above administration skills +
  • Leadership skills
  • Observation and proactivity
  • Multitasking
  • Project management skills
  • Travel management and logistic skills
  • Oral communication and presentation skills
  • Scheduling, calendar management, and planning skills
  • Interpersonal and networking skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Strategic thinking and planning 

4. Authority and Decision-Making

Admin Assistant

They do have a level of autonomy as far as managing their tasks, but they must report to their supervisor. As a support role, they don’t normally make decisions that impact business operations. 

Executive Assistant

EAs do possess some executive power, able to delegate tasks and convey instructions on behalf of executives. They can also manage other admin assistants. 

5. Educational Requirement

Admin Assistant

There really isn’t any hard degree requirement for either of these positions. Companies tend to focus more on skills and work experience. A lot of admin assistant interview questions center on software and hard skills. However, if you do have a degree, that is always a plus. 

Some applicable degrees include:

  • Business administration 
  • Business management
  • Office administration
  • Human resources
  • Accounting 

Executive Assistant

Because of the level of responsibility associated with the position, most companies look for degrees almost as a security measure. These tend to stand out on a resume and can give them more confidence in a candidate’s abilities. 

Hiring managers also typically look for valuable certifications as well. This includes courses related to software proficiency. 

However, we all know that a degree isn’t always everything. There are many well-known successful people without a degree. A fresh business administration graduate and a college dropout with 10 years of admin assistant experience are two different things. When choosing candidates, consider real experience on top of knowledge of business principles. When creating your executive assistant job descriptions, know which qualifications are flexible and which ones you won’t compromise on. 

6. Work Experience

A woman with a notebook sitting at a desk in front of a laptop computer.

Speaking of experience…

Admin Assistant

When talking about admin assistant vs executive assistant experience requirements, the former definitely has it easier. They could very well get an admin position or get hired as an admin or general VA at the entry level. Industry specific experience is valuable, especially if they are looking for higher-level positions.  

Executive Assistant

EAs typically have to start from a lower-ranking position and work their way up. It isn’t uncommon to see an admin assistant graduate to this position after many years of hard work. A history of working closely with high-ranking individuals of other companies will definitely breed more trust in their capabilities.

Note: While rare, some businesses can prefer EA candidates with less experience. One reason is that blank slates can be easier to mold to a company-specific work culture, practice, methods, SOPs, etc. 

7. Salary and Compensation

There are several factors that affect rate: skill level, experience, scope of work, country, and specialization. 

Admin Assistant

Here are the estimated hourly rates for three tiers of admin work.

Entry-level – $8-$10/hr

Mid-level – $15-$25/hr

Expert level – $30+/hr

Executive Assistant

Naturally, EAs tend to have higher rates even in lower tiers due to ability, workload, experience, and position. 

If you’re looking for more entry level EAs, you’re looking at around $15/hr. 

Generally, though, you can expect more experienced EAs to charge between $25-$50/hr depending on the load. 

8. Confidentiality and Discretion

The nature of the roles means they will have access to sensitive data.  

Admin Assistant

For one, they usually handle client and customer information and contacts. If they are in charge of inbox management, that also gives them access to emails and the information within. If performing bookkeeping duties, they handle information regarding company spending habits and cash flow. They may also have access to information contained in certain reports and documents. This is usually confined to their departments, though. 

Executive Assistant

EAs are privy to a lot more sensitive information at a much higher level. Not only do EAs interact with high-profile clients, they also interact with business partners and executives of other companies. They arrange travel and meetings, meaning they are privy to the whereabouts of these individuals. They typically also have access to company credit cards and make purchases on behalf of executives. Important documents usually go through them before reaching the higher-ups. 

9. Interaction with Management

arms gesturing in front of laptop screen

Admin Assistant

They typically report to their team leader or managing director. Administration is generally holistic. Because of this, assistants may sometimes report to other department heads and staff.

Executive Assistant

An EA reports directly to executives and sometimes works together with other department heads and team managers. Executive assistants can also often be in charge of other admin staff. 

10. Career Path and Advancement

Admin Assistant

Admin assistance is a good foundation for a number of different career advancement options. One we’ve already discussed is working their way up to higher levels of administrative support roles like the executive assistant. Another option is to become managers and supervisors themselves. If they pursue specialization, they could go on to be higher-ranking members of accounting, IT, or HR departments. They could also venture into the medical, legal, or finance industries and use their admin skills there. 

Executive Assistant

Executive assistants also have a few options available. For one, they could continue being EAs to even more high-ranking CEOs or executives of larger and more prestigious companies. Another role that an EA can build towards is that of chief of staff. These people have advisory and executive roles. They help make better decisions for the company and help to ensure the best execution of company vision. EAs themselves can also attempt to move into higher-ranking positions themselves as directors, chief business officers, and even business owners. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the main difference between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant?

Administrative assistant is a lower-ranking support position. They can specialize in several fields like accounting or even become managers and EAs themselves. They report to the department heads, managers, or team leaders they are under.

Executive assistants are high-ranking support positions that include managerial roles. Depending on their role, they could also need specialized knowledge in certain areas. However, the main thing is that they report to executives directly. 

2. Are the roles of admin and executive assistants interchangeable?

There are some overlaps, especially when it comes to administration tasks like scheduling, filing, and managing communications. However, EAs execute tasks at a higher level than admin assistants (hence the name), and thus, hold more power. 

3. Can an administrative assistant be promoted to an executive assistant?

Absolutely! It’s one potential career path an admin assistant can embark on. This does bank on their abilities and may take a few years and promotions to other positions along the way.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


When talking about admin assistants vs executive assistants, you can see how easy it is to confuse the two. However, by breaking down the positions into ten main areas, it’s much easier now to see how they are distinct.

Virtual Assistants

Freelancer Meaning | Complete Guide to Freelancing

freelancer meaning

What freelancer meaning do you subscribe to? Are you confused as to what to call someone who’s not an employee? 

In this post, we’re going to clear up some of the gray areas around what freelancing is. We’ll go through what freelance jobs are compared to employment and what to expect. We’ll also get a little bit into what it means in this digital age and how we can all benefit.

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing refers to a work model where, rather than being tied to a company, an individual works for themselves. This model is possible in almost any industry, whether it’s related to finance, creative works, or food. 

Freelancer Meaning

Freelancers are self-employed individuals, also known as independent contractors.  They usually work on short-term projects and with multiple clients at once. They can take on in-person jobs such as personal photography or window cleaning. However, in recent years, the term “freelancer” has become more synonymous with terms like “remote worker” and “virtual assistant” This is due to the popularity of “work-from-home” culture and the ability to accomplish many tasks digitally. 

The Freelance Work Model

Types of Freelancers and Freelance Work

1. Professional and Technical Freelancers

These are the types of freelancers who do freelance work full-time. Because of this, they are also incredibly technically skilled. They tend to focus on improving the value of their services in their specific niches. A few examples of this would be freelance SEO writers, logo designers, and product photographers. 

2. Creative and Media Freelancers

Freelancers of this type focus on content creation and graphics. Some of the most popular fields are graphic design, content writing, video editing, voice acting, marketing, and advertising.

3. Administrative and Support Freelancers

These freelancers help take care of organizational and back-office tasks. These freelance jobs include:

  • Calendar management/Scheduling and Planning
  • Email management and Communications
  • Organization and Maintenance of Data Records
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • General Data Entry

4. Consultants and Advisors

Consultants and advisors or strategists are the highest level among the three types of virtual assistants. You could consider someone under this label an expert freelancer meaning someone with a high degree of knowledge and experience. These individuals have years under their belt have likely worked with many companies and brands. They take what they’ve learned and help create and implement systems and workflows. These can then lead to increased productivity and efficiency, better profit margins, and overall greater business health. 

5. Gig and Casual Workers

As the name suggests, these types of freelancers typically take on one-off, short-term projects. This can be anything from logo design to data entry or content creation. Gig freelancers can work intermittently or venture into multiple fields of interests. 

Freelance Compensation Models

freelancer meaning


This is the most common payment model used by the majority of freelancers nationwide. While this is a comfortable and typically safe option for most, it isn’t fool-proof. Speedy freelancers may not get paid for their efficiency. Slow freelancers may get overpaid. This is something that an employer and freelancer should discuss during the post-interview/negotiation stage of the hiring process. 


Some freelancers give a quote on how much the entire project will cost. Some clients prefer this because they know exactly what they are paying. These payment terms typically have stipulations, such as a limited number of edits or revisions. These terms vary based on ‌the project scope. With projects, though, there is a risk that the scope gradually widens without sufficient compensation.


This is very similar to project-based. One difference is that while a project is typically one-off, a package can be for a duration. You can think of it as a subscription for freelancing services. You pay for a set number of tasks, hours, deliverables, etc. for a fixed price. This is a good choice for experienced freelancers who know the value of their skills, efficiency, and knowledge. 

Partial payment 

While not common, some freelancers may request part of the payment beforehand and the rest after they have completed the project. One reason for this is to help cover costs during the project. This can be risky though, and hiring someone based on this compensation model requires a lot of trust. 

Pros and Cons of Freelancing

freelancer meaning


  • Flexible Hours and Workload – You aren’t tied to an employer as a freelancer meaning you can work as much or as little as you like. Whether it’s one-off projects, part-time or full-time work, or multiple jobs, freelancers decide what they can handle. They can negotiate how many hours a week they set aside for a project and choose what days to work those hours. 
  • Flexible Location – As long as they have an internet connection, freelancers can work wherever. They can enjoy the comfort of their homes, do some work while commuting or spend time in a coffee shop. 
  • Financial Control – You can earn proportional to the amount of work and projects you complete. If you are a hard worker, you can potentially earn more than a salaried employee. Freelancing rewards the hustle more consistently than in-house work. 
  • Self-Employment – Freelancers manage themselves. They are essentially entrepreneurs with a service business model. They are not bound by contract to a specific employer. Setting and adjusting rates is much easier and they can set the terms for each project. 
  • More Opportunities – A remote worker isn’t limited to job openings in their city, state or even country. They can work for an international company where they can get more exposure, build their resume, and earn more. 
  • Skill Development – It’s a cycle. Because you can work a variety of different jobs, you learn a lot more. When you develop more skills, you can apply for a wider array of projects. 


  • No Benefits or Insurance – There is no such thing as paid leave, dental, or company health insurance when you are a freelancer. Severance and retirement benefits also don’t apply. Freelancers need to come up with alternative ways to get insurance and save up retirement funds. 
  • No Job Stability – If you can’t find a client, you can’t earn. As a freelancer, if a client decides to drop you, there isn’t really anything you can do. There are also fewer if any laws in place that protect freelancers against unjust termination. This also means that freelancers don’t truly have a reliable source of income. 
  • Isolation and Loneliness – It can be a struggle to find community as a freelancer. While water cooler conversations can sometimes be awkward, human interaction is valuable. Months and even years in isolation, with no one to share in the highs and lows, can be mentally taxing. I think we can all relate on some level due to events in recent years. 
  • Self-Reliance – Freelancers typically have to figure things out on their own. Whether that’s alternative insurance options like we mentioned, marketing, or networking, they have to figure that out on their own. 

Key Characteristics and Qualities of a Freelancer

A man and a woman shaking hands.

Efficiency and Time Management Skills

Because freelancers move from project to project, they learn to manage their time wisely. The idea of a worker handling multiple projects may make some uncomfortable. However, they can help you meet that deadline and get things done efficiently. 

Responsibility and Self-Management Skills

They tend to have a lot of discipline and can work on their own without the need for supervision. This lends to a greater degree of professionalism as well. 

Adaptability and Flexibility

Working with different clients of varying sizes in potentially multiple types of industry has it’s perks. On top of working alone, a freelancer can also work together with a team to complete a task. They can adapt to different work cultures and can learn different tools and software faster than average.

Communication Skills

A good freelancer needs to be a good communicator. This applies when they market their skills, answer interview questions, negotiate rates and schedules, or update their clients on work progress. 

Freelancing in the Digital Age

Impact of Emerging Technology on Freelancing

Freelancing has become so popular, especially in recent years. The internet has already made more remote work possible, but it doesn’t end there. The development of tools, software, and websites have skyrocketed the potential for freelancers to make money online. Some technology makes “making money” a lot easier also due to automation. 

We needn’t look further than accounting software for an example. This has allowed freelance bookkeepers to maintain accurate records more easily and take on more clients monthly. Maybe you want to look at the boom of eCommerce. Now the term “Amazon seller” is becoming less associated with side hustle culture and more of a sustainable full-time endeavor. 

Technology hasn’t always been the friend of the freelancer though. One infamous example is AI. More and more businesses have attempted to substitute freelance work with artificially generated results, especially in the creative sector. For instance, you’ve probably heard of students using the popular ChatGPT to write essays and even term papers. Well, as it turns out businesses are doing it too and many freelancers have lost jobs to ChatGPT

arms gesturing in front of laptop screen

Freelance Marketplaces

In terms of accessibility and availability, freelancers have never been easier to find. The sheer number of websites you can go to for outsourcing or freelance services have hiring managers spoiled for choice.

We’ve talked in the past about the best places to find freelancers online, particularly virtual assistant websites. We have posts on where to hire an SEO virtual assistant, a bookkeeping virtual assistant, and many others.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I choose the right freelancer for my project?

Here’s a checklist you can follow:

  1. Evaluate your needs – Determine the scope of work, list of tasks, budget, and timeline.
  2. Create a job description with a list of qualifications – Be as clear as possible. 
  3. Do your research – Look at different freelance marketplaces and post your jobs there. 
  4. Create a list of interview questions – Make sure you tailor them to the position you are hiring for.
  5. Negotiate, onboard, and manage – Negotiate rate, follow a proper onboarding process, and manage their progress.

2. What are the best practices for communicating and collaborating with freelancers?

The best tip is to establish communication and management tools and software (Slack, Zoom, Email, Trello, Asana, etc.) as early as possible. This is so they can get familiar with them if they’ve never used them before. 

Also, take note of the quality of their work. That way you know who to contact should you need more work done in the future. 

3. What are the risks involved in hiring freelancers and how can I mitigate them?

Sometimes you can get a bad hire. This can be someone who oversells their skills, bails before a project is done, or does a sloppy job. You can avoid this by hiring through reputable channels and reading client reviews. You can also mitigate other risks like data security and quality control by hiring someone with a good track record.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


We’ve gone through freelancing and freelancer meanings, work models, pros, cons, and hiring tips. Now you’ve got yourself a much more complete picture of not only the life of a freelancer, but how you can effectively partner with one.

Virtual Assistants

Freelancer vs Contractor: Definitions & Differences

freelancer vs contractor

The freelancer vs contractor distinction is not a clear one. This can lead to some confusion when looking for one or another type of professional assistance. In this post, we hope to clear that up for you. This way, you will be able to ask for exactly what you need, and attract the right candidates. Eliminating confusion helps both sides to avoid misunderstandings that can generate bigger issues in the future.

What is a Freelancer?

Freelancers are basically independent professionals. They offer their skilled services to clients like an employee works for a business. However, they are not tied to that company exclusively. This means that they can work with several clients at a time. 

Freelancers are not salaried workers, and therefore typically get paid by the hour. Some charge on a per-project basis for one-off projects and fixed deliverables. Others may also get paid a retainer for regular, ongoing work with set outcomes. As nonpermanent, self-employed workers, freelancers set their own rates and process their own tax payments. 

The client a freelancer works for also has fewer responsibilities towards the freelancer than they would an employee. For instance, clients do not have to give freelancers paid sick leave and vacation time, medical and dental coverage, and other common employee benefits. 

What is an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors can work in conditions that are just like the above. Contractors also charge more or less the same rates as freelancers. They may, however, take some pay cuts in exchange for more job security. Independent contractors might take on work through an agency, which requires longer-term contracts than most freelance gigs. 

Traditionally, an independent contractor would actually have to be employed by a vendor or an agency. They would therefore report to agency executives and get paid through these agencies. However, this is not necessarily true anymore. Like freelancers, they might provide expert services through their own companies, working for themselves and not for an agency. 

The Rise of Freelancers and Contractors in the Workforce 

freelancer vs contractor

Before the advent of the internet, freelancing and independent contracting was mostly frowned upon. Companies and workers alike valued the stability of long-term commitment. This was mostly because part-timers and temps were liable to lose their jobs at the drop of a hat.

Alongside that, a negative impression of freelancers and contractors was growing out of a misconception. If they were really that great, why couldn’t they get “real” jobs? People who preferred the freedom that came with not being an employee were looked at as being less reliable. This is far from the truth, however. 

Today, companies no longer see freelancers and independent contractors simply as backup plans. They are not just people who can fill in holes here and there if someone is sick or quits unexpectedly. Many companies no longer hire them only until a “real” worker can take their rightful places. 

The History of Freelancing and Contracting

The spread and advancement of the internet and online tools has fostered growth in contractual employment. Most people today actually prefer to work independently. Freelancing and contracting gives them more freedom and control over their lives. And they are able to pick and choose because employers now realize the manifold benefits on their end. 

Hiring nonpermanent, self-employed workers means doing away with the need for many of the traditional company trappings. Employers do not need to pay for work spaces and equipment. If you’ve ever rented an office, you know how expensive that can get. Employers don’t have to pay the usual benefits, either. The government only demands companies to pay these to regular employees. And that’s just the beginning.

The Importance of Freelancing and Contracting

We must also emphasize the fact that hiring independents keeps a company’s workforce agile. They can hire more people when business is booming, and cut back when the demand dips. When new opportunities arise, they can bring on the talent they need to test out expansion. Or, they can hire additional help to tide them over when they face certain challenges. Swift adaptation can mean life or death for a company in today’s climate. Hiring in-house simply isn’t flexible enough to meet these needs.

Part of this agility and opportunity is the ability to hire exactly the talent that a company needs. Employers can search for a remote virtual assistant from almost any place on the globe. This takes off all previous geographic limitations. No more paying people extra to move to your city. No more having to meet a competitor’s offer to snag the best among limited talents. A business can find exactly the person they need for almost any position by hiring remote freelancers and independent contractors.

Agility in hiring can also mean significant costs savings for any business. This refers to both actual hiring costs and not paying opportunity costs. First, remember that you can find freelancers and independent contractors from almost anywhere in the world. This means that you can pay less but still pay them well by their country’s standards. 

freelancer vs contractor

Similarities Between Freelancers and Contractors

Much has changed in nonpermanent work, and this has brought freelancing and independent contracting closer together. Below are the major areas where they now overlap.

Flexible work arrangements

Both terms cover work that isn’t tied to any company or location. Often, it isn’t tied to any specific schedule, either. However, contract work does sometime necessitate fixed hours. This can also be true if a freelancer prefers to organize different client hours this way.

Working on projects for multiple clients

All independent professionals are free to take on multiple clients without legal or moral repercussions. As long as the clients are aware and amenable, they are free to moonlight.

Being responsible for their own taxes

Being self-employed, independents must pay their own taxes, just like any other solo proprietor.

Differences Between Freelancers and Contractors

Because there are many similarities between freelancers and independent contractors, many use these terms interchangeably. Wherever this can cause confusion when setting expectations, we recommend that you make your meaning clear. This is why we have this post to tell the difference between them.

Client obligations

Freelancers generally have more autonomy in choosing clients because some independent contractors work through agencies. This is because contractors must meet the requirements set by their employing agencies. This also means that contractors can more easily maintain longer-lasting relationships with clients. The agencies have a vested interest in keeping clients on long term, so contractors benefit from all the wooing. This, of course, doesn’t mean that freelancers are incapable of maintaining long-term clients. In fact, a freelancer who can keep a client can drum up loads of business from referrals. Plus, they don;t share any proceeds with any agency because they are on their own.

Project types

The title of independent contractor usually means that the individual works full-time for one client. They are not employees with the same job security that regulars enjoy. They do, however, tend to take on firmer commitments. Contractors can still take on more than one client. In this regard, they are similar to temp workers. We simply tend to refer to those who prefer larger projects for longer-term clients as independent contractors rather than freelancers. Still, this does not exclude them from taking on short-term projects. It also does not mean that freelancers can’t do long-term work.

Work arrangements and location

While freelancers tend to prefer working remotely, contractors might work in their clients’ offices if that’s more convenient. This usually depends on how many hours they work for each client, if they live in the same city. Still, with the move to remote work, this distinction is fading.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there different legal considerations when hiring a freelancer vs contractor?

Any independent professional will be responsible for paying their own taxes. The client’s obligation is to report from their side all the details of that arrangement that they are required to. If a contractor works through an agency, then you are technically contracting with the agency. You will therefore be responsible for paying the agency. Paying the contractor and taxes and all that is not your responsibility. 

2. Can I expect different levels of commitment and availability between freelancers and contractors?

Not necessarily. Because the distinctions are now blurred, you can actually get the same from either. The only difference would be if you are working with an agency that contracts the individual. The reliability of the agency could complicate matters. Basically, if you set clear expectations when you delegate work, you’ll be fine. You can contract with a freelancer to work exclusively for you, if they’re willing. You can also arrange with an independent contractor to do gig work if they accept.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


Freelancers and independent contractors are no longer means to fill up temporary holes. These flexible additions to the workforce are indispensable in our modern business world. The lines often get blurred, but the main consideration is getting on the same page with an individual.

Virtual Assistants

Freelancer vs Entrepreneur: Definition and 5 Key Differences

freelancer vs entrepreneur

Distinguishing between a freelancer vs entrepreneur can be tricky. On the surface, they are actually quite similar. In many countries, there is actually no legal business distinction. However, we can identify a handful of key differences, which we will discuss below. These distinguishing factors are important to note when you want to go more than just skin deep.

What is a Freelancer?

The most basic definition of a freelancer is a person who earns money on an independent basis. They go from one job to the next, or handle several at once. This is unlike employees who usually have a single job that they do full time. Freelancers who do short-term work will usually have different jobs lined up. Or, they will look for a new job once they finish the old one. Freelancers who do part-time work will usually have several clients on their roster. 

Independent Contractor

A freelancer is also commonly called an independent contractor. This means a person who does work independently from a specific company. This person would also work on a contractual basis, not a regular basis. Again, this is in contrast to an employee, who would be legally bound to a single company. Because of this, freelancers do not receive the same benefits that employees do. Common benefits include such as paid vacation time, sick leave, medical or dental insurance, and the like.

Gig Worker

A freelancer might also be called a gig worker. We generally define gig workers as those individuals who don’t work on jobs long term. So, a freelancer might actually work with a client for several years, even. Still, they will not be an employee. But a gig worker is a freelancer who does short-term projects exclusively. This means that they usually have the characteristic of not developing long-term relationships with clients.

We want to note that the above is a misconception for the most part. Some clients go back to the same freelancers time and again for repeat jobs. For example, let’s say you need website maintenance or database updates done. These are considered gigs. You don’t hire someone to do that on a daily basis or even once a week. You would call a gig worker to come in from time to time as needed to keep things running. Even if they only spend a few hours at a time working with you, you can still develop a relationship with them.

That said, some gig workers have regular employment. This is important to note if it affects your decision in any way. This would be technically called an alternative or non-standard work arrangement. Some clients prefer this because it does not require any commitment. Others prefer not to hire freelancers with day jobs because they may not be prioritized.

Pros and Cons of Being a Freelancer

freelancer vs entrepreneur

The biggest pros of being a freelancer vs entrepreneur would be relative security without all the pressure. Freelancers can earn more that regular employees. They can also do this while enjoying more control over their financial situation. At the same time, they can still depend on clients to give them work to do. Entrepreneurs must drum up the business that creates the work to be done. This is a huge load off a person’s shoulders, especially when they’re not really visionary types. 

The biggest cons if freelancing rather than building a business are the limits. Primarily, their freedom and growth potential are limited. Freelancers are still bound to clients in terms of things like scheduling. They are also limited by the number of hours that they are able to work. Even if they might be able to raise their rates, they will still never be able to work more than a certain number of hours. This puts a cap on their earning potential as individuals.

Key Skills Required for Freelancing Success

We have identified several technical skills that are in high demand. Freelancers who learn these skills can increase their marketability and charge higher rates. Freelancers are in demand in any case because of the growing outsourcing trends. However, the number of freelancers hunting for work has never been higher. Since the pandemic hit, working from home has become more the norm than working in an office. This means that the competition is getting tougher. Having the  following skills can tip the scales back in any freelancer’s favor.


A good freelancer must be an expert communicator. At least, in terms of being understood and making sure a client’s instructions are understood. Communication is a key skill from start to finish. This means being clear on everything from the project scope and payment terms all the way to the finished product. 

Good communication also includes a system for keeping clients updated on a regular basis. Even if a client doesn’t ask for updates, the best freelancers will still drop them a line or two. This is a best practice that keeps clients at ease. More than updates, clients also appreciate intelligent suggestions. A good communicator will know how to present ideas for improvements that can be made in a way that helps then be accepted by everyone involved. This makes the work and the environment better for them and everyone else. 

The highest level of communication that can up any freelancer’s game is negotiating tactics. Freelancers need to stay on top of this because they don’t usually have long-term contracts. They also don’t usually get regular raises like salaried employees do. This means that freelancers need to be keen on getting the best deals. Good negotiation skills also help to ensure that freelancers and clients are on the same page in terms of expectations. This helps everyone avoid misunderstandings and generally stay happy with the work arrangement.

Industry Knowledge

A freelancer needs to know more than how to do a niche job. To get a leg over the competition, they must know the ins and outs of the industry they work in. Most businesses expect freelancers to be able to work independently. If they want to impress clients, freelancers need to show them that they don’t need a lot of guidance. They therefore work to gain a deeper understanding of how things work. This will also naturally increase their confidence level. In turn, this makes a freelancer’s expertise more obvious to clients. 


Creative freelancers impress clients more than the average worker. Being creative is a higher-level skill, and it’s really valuable when correctly applied. A creative freelancer can, for instance, develop custom solutions to problems or enhance project outcomes. Going above and beyond a client’s expectations is always appreciated. That is, as long as it doesn’t go outside the discussed requirements!

Project Management

Because freelancers work independently and on several projects at once, project management is essential. This includes time management, too. The freelancers who get hired back and get recommendations to other clients have two main characteristics. First, they complete projects according to the scope agreed. Second, they meet deadlines, which means staying withing budget, too, when they’re doing hourly projects.

The best freelancers know how to not just get organized, but stay organized throughout a project. They also stay organized from one project to the next and the next. They are also proactive decision-makers and goal-oriented planners. This means that they can easily prioritize projects to keep all their clients happy without ever sacrificing quality.

What is an Entrepreneur?

freelancer vs entrepreneur

The most basic definition of an entrepreneur is someone who owns their own business. An entrepreneur will commonly organize and operate that business, too. Of course, some entrepreneurs own more than one business. In these cases, they are more likely to hire other people to do the organizational and operational work involved. This means that they would basically buy businesses run by other people. Although this may sound a lot easier than being a freelancer, it does require additional skills. 

Generally, an entrepreneur must have greater foresight in the area of business. Entrepreneurs do not simply sell their skills and time like freelancers do. They build businesses, taking all the financial risks on their shoulders. 

Pros and Cons of Being an Entrepreneur

The greatest pros of being an entrepreneur are unlimited potential and freedom. This is, not ironically, the opposite of freelancers. Freelancers are almost entrepreneurs, after all. They just need to take that step from working on someone else’s business to working on their own.

The greatest con of being an entrepreneur is taking on the greatest risk. An entrepreneur is responsible for everything that happens within the business. Some can argue that it’s the same for a freelancer because they have to find their own clients and keep them happy. In some ways, this is true. However, the difference is that entrepreneurs must keep the business afloat or risk bankruptcy. Freelancers can move to a different business with minimal losses.

Key Skills Required for Entrepreneurial Success

The top skills every entrepreneur needs fall into two categories. 

Business Management

Entrepreneurs need business management skills to create plans that work, then properly organize and direct the organization. Without these skills, an entrepreneur will find it difficult to achieve credibility, efficiency, and create a company culture that fosters productivity and growth.

Good entrepreneurs are good leaders. They are not just positional leaders, but lead by example. They know how to get people to follow them without using scare tactics. Entrepreneurs also need strategic thinking and planning skills to analyze information and make the right changes. This includes solving problems that come up. This way, the business can overcome challenges and properly manage resources to meet its goals. 

Critical and Creative Thinking 

Entrepreneurs take creativity to another level. With strong critical and creative thinking skills, an entrepreneur can build a string business, then expand it. The most successful entrepreneurs use critical thinking to make keen analyses that guide profitable decisions and create the most effective solutions to problems. They use creative thinking in these processes to produce better results by taking in various perspectives and generating original ideas. 

Transitioning from Freelancing to Entrepreneurship (and vice versa)

The best freelancers tend to be the most flexible. Doing gig work and jumping between clients makes this a necessary skill for freelancing. Because of this, freelancers will also make more of an effort to specialize in more than one area or work. This is in comparison to workers who tend to prefer regular employment offers. This ability to be a jack of all trades almost also makes freelancers more desirable hires. That is, generally speaking, and in comparison to the average employee. 

This flexibility is what makes it much easier for freelancers to transition into entrepreneurship. It’s not that big of a step up, after all. That said, we see a couple of major areas to look into before making the transition between freelancing and entrepreneurship:

First, a freelancer must know what starting and running a business entails, and be determined to see it through. Jumping from one project to the next is easy. Even transitioning between clients is not that hard. Starting a business is a much larger and more serious commitment. 

Second, a freelancer must have enough capital to set up their desired business. If they require funding, they must have a plan for either paying back loans or paying investors. They also need a contingency plan in case the business fails. Aside from funding, they must have enough money to live on until the business starts making a profit.

Tax obligations for freelancers and entrepreneurs

Generally speaking, most governments consider freelancers to be self-employed. The tax status or legal classification would be an independent contractor. This is in contrast to an employee. This is the same as having a sole proprietorship. That means you are an individual who owns a business. In these terms, for example, a freelancer would have the same tax status as a dentist. 

A freelancer can also transition from being a sole proprietor to an LLC, if that works better. For starters, though, a sole proprietorship is most likely going to be the best option.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The differences of a freelancer vs entrepreneur are not always so clear-cut. You might say, to keep it simple, that an entrepreneur is like a top-tier freelancer. As long as you make it clear that you are not simply trading time for money, you won’t be too far off the mark.

Virtual Assistants

What Does an Executive Assistant Do?

A man looking through websites on his laptop and phone, doing lead generation research. executive assistant

Have you ever wondered what an executive assistant actually does? Ever wonder if it’s something worth investing in? Maybe you’re already considering one, but you aren’t sold on them yet. Maybe you’re just looking for tips on how to go about hiring one. 

Well, in this article we hope to answer those questions and more.  

What is an Executive Assistant?

Definition and Role

Sometimes known as executive administrators/secretaries, an EA serves executives and other high-ranking individuals within a company. They work directly under them and carry out a variety of responsibilities. This includes administration and office management as well as scheduling and planning duties. While they are not project managers or accounting staff, they can perform some of those duties. 

Importance and Benefits

We’ve spoken at length on the benefits of outsourcing, and honestly, we can say the same things about executive assistants.


They help save time by taking care of important tasks such as:

  • Email management 
  • Call/message screening 
  • Calendar/schedule management
  • Organizing files
  • Filling in for you in meetings and taking notes
  • Creating reports and presentations


An assistant can help you get more things done and allow you to focus on growing your profit margins. This is especially true if you go for an executive virtual assistant as outsourcing is more cost-effective than in-house. 


These assistants can also delegate work on your behalf. They can act as your hands, feet, and mouthpiece – relaying instructions and give you progress reports. They can free up your time so you can focus on other areas that need your attention – be it business or personal. 

Skills and Qualities of a Successful Executive Assistant

A female executive assistant using a laptop to outsource sales and marketing. executive assistant

Organizational Skills

Choose an assistant who can

  • sort documents and create easily accessible filing systems
  • perform email management (filtering, categorizing, labeling, deleting, and replying to emails)
  • manage a calendar without conflicting dates 

Communication Skills

There’s a lot of communication that goes on within a company. 

You have things like

  • Hiring and recruiting
  • Internal communications between departments
  • Communications with and between remote teams and in house staff 
  • Deadline and milestone checkup meetings
  • Reporting
  • Emails
  • Meeting follow-ups

As such, an EA must be able to 

  • Express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Schedule meetings externally and internally
  • Manage communications between teams and relay instructions 
  • Arrange travel accommodations
  • Create and present reports 

Time Management Skills

  • Can multitask effectively and meet deadlines
  • Know how to prioritize tasks based on level of importance and urgency
  • Can manage another person’s schedule 

Attention to Detail

An EA must have eyes like a hawk. Their job is to notice things that their bosses may fail to catch.  For example, say you put them in charge of arranging a business trip. Something they would consider is if the hotel you would be staying in has transport services and stable internet. 

They must be able to 

  • Observe needs
  • Anticipate problems and plan ahead
  • Perform their duties with accuracy, especially when it comes to tasks like bookkeeping 
  • Strategize ways to save time, make your life more organized, and allow for a better work/life balance.

Responsibilities of an Executive Assistant

A notebook with a pen and a laptop used to outsource content marketing. executive assistant

Managing Calendars and Scheduling Appointments

Meetings are practically an everyday occurrence for those in top positions. Whether it’s meeting with potential investors, business partners, or internal staff, an EA must fit everything in without things conflicting. 

They need to be good with dates and times. This includes having a good sense of how long meetings could go. They account for time in between meetings, so executives also have time to prepare before the next thing scheduled.

Arranging Travel and Accommodations

If you’ve ever had to arrange a trip, you know how much planning goes into it. It isn’t much different from business trips. From accommodations, to restaurants, and business related site visits, everything needs to stay on schedule, otherwise the costs go up. Is the plane ticket round trip? Do they have to pay for extra luggage weight? Are the places to eat close to the hotel? Do they have backups for these places in case the first option falls through for any reason?

Screening Calls and Managing Email Correspondence

An email management virtual assistant is someone who can label and arrange your emails. An EA with these skills can sort through your spam. They can assign categories to your emails so they are easy to navigate. You can know which emails are urgent through labels.

Have a bunch of unwanted emails? No worries. They can unsubscribe you from those unwanted newsletters and block spam emails to keep your inbox tidy. 

Assisting with Meeting Preparation and Note-taking

They make sure the executive is prepared for the meeting and filled in on all the details. They also must know how to summarize and condense information while it still being comprehensive. 

Some core duties under this include taking meeting minutes, summarizing information, preparing documents, and even creating presentations for the executives. Standing in on behalf of an executive is not an uncommon responsibility. As such, EAs must also be well-informed so they can present well.

Handling Confidential Information

Discretion is a quality required of assistants handling sensitive data. You wouldn’t be giving just anyone access to email accounts or company credit cards. In order to keep data secure, the person must know how to both store data and share it. For instance, Dropbox and Google Drive are a good option for both. Social media platforms are not. Even the way they talk about confidential information should signal how they will treat the data itself. This is a question you can ask them during the interview process. 

Tips for Hiring an Effective Executive Assistant

Business owners sharing tips.

Factors to Consider when Selecting a Candidate

  • Experience – Consider how long they have worked as an EA. Remember, the greater the experience, the better the efficiency.
  • Expertise – Consider the tools, software, and technical skills they have. Identify your needs and hire accordingly. 
  • Location – What country are they from? Will time zones be an issue? Can they work the same hours as you? 
  • Communication Skills – Assistants must talk to you, other assistants, clients, business partners, hotels, restaurants, and possibly even speak on your behalf. 
  • Budget and Rate – How much does an executive assistant make? You should get a general idea of the range prior to the canvassing stage. We’ll help you out on this one. According to Indeed, the average salary for an in-house EA is $60-65,000/year. If you’re looking for a virtual EA, average hourly rates come out to $40-$50. 

Best Practices for the Hiring Process

The hiring/outsourcing process involves several stages. 


Know what you want. List your needs and write a comprehensive job description with a completed list of tasks, roles and responsibilities, and qualifications.

Researching and Canvassing

Look to hire from reputable sites. Create job posts and collect applications and resumes.


Sift through the applications and select which ones make it through to the interview stage.


Get to know your candidates better and see which ones are a better fit through prepared executive assistant interview questions. Expand on what they wrote in their applications and examine personality and work culture compatibility. You may want to do multiple interview stages to get more in-depth or do skill tests. 


Rate negotiations and other details are finalized in this stage. This should typically happen during later stages or after the interview process. 

Selecting and Onboarding 

Once you’ve chosen your candidate, you must also be ready to transition them into the company. The goal of a remote onboarding process is to familiarize new hires with the company. This may involve orienting them on company culture, SOPs, mission, vision, and the like. This also includes their roles and the roles of the people they will be working with. You should also familiarize them with tools and software you use for internal communications, employee management, etc.  


Use time management, employee management, and project management software. It makes managing remote teams and tracking progress and deadlines a lot easier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant?

An EA fills a lot of roles, including administration. They are much higher level and have a broader range of responsibility. Any department can have an admin assistant, however, EAs work specifically under executives. EAs can also manage other assistants.

How does hiring a virtual assistant differ from a traditional in-office assistant?

Remote workers are ‌more cost-effective and outsourcing also gives you access to a wider talent pool of experts. However, their limits show if you have a task that requires their physical presence. 

Time-zones can also be a hurdle. However, you can mitigate it by hiring in similar time-zones but you can also take advantage of it. For instance, they can work during company-off hours. Your EA can make travel arrangements and manage your email inbox, so everything is ready by the time you wake up. 

How do I ensure the security of my business information when working with a virtual assistant?

Here are some short, fast guidelines to mitigate data breach risks and keep your bases covered. 

  • Hire from reputable sites sources 
  • Interview through recommendations
  • Check the data security and privacy policies if hiring from a freelance marketplace or through agencies
  • Vet hires properly by checking previous work history and previous client reviews and ratings (if possible)
  • Have workers sign contracts with clear data security terms

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


Executive assistants are a busy businessman’s best friend. From streamlining monotonously laborious tasks like answering emails, to optimizing your filing system, they make life easier for bosses everywhere. By hiring an EA, you can improve your quality of life in the office and at home. They can free up your time to do what you love and arrange the space to be with the people you love. 

Virtual Assistants

Top 26 Admin Assistant Interview Questions

An administrative assistant carrying documents in an office. admin assistant interview questions

With our list of admin assistant interview questions, you won’t need to scramble for the right question. If you find yourself stuck during interviews because you don’t know what to say, look no further. We’ve covered hard skills, behavior, and soft skills in this new post.

Top hard skills interview questions for hiring administrative assistants

Hard skills are skills that you can learn at school or on the job. They are the technical skills that you would see on a job post. You will have a list of requirements in this area, and they are the ones you should ask about first. They are easier to verify because they are quantifiable, so it saves you time upfront. 

1. What office productivity software (like Time Doctor) are you most comfortable using, and can you provide examples of how you’ve used them in your previous roles?

This question will show you how versatile the candidate is. It will also show you if they have the tools you mentioned on your job post front of mind. By sharing examples, you will know that they are not just reading off a list. They should also know what this type of tool is, and not mix it up with other common admin tools.

2. What communication tools and platforms have you used in your previous roles, and how did you utilize them for effective communication?

Some admin assistant interview questions will be similar, like this one is to the question above. The point is to check the specific tools, of course, but also if the candidate answers differently. 

3. What is your typing speed, and how do you ensure accuracy in your typing?

This is a good example of balance when you’re asking questions. You want them to be fast at typing, but you also want them to be accurate. If you ask only about the first part, they can give you an impressive answer without backing it up. The second part of the question will make them think about adding accuracy into their computation. Then you get a more accurate understanding of how fast they really are, including time for correcting mistakes.

4. Describe your experience with managing calendars. How do you handle scheduling conflicts and prioritize appointments?

Booking appointments, blocking out time, and moving things around are common admin tasks. Not everyone can handle these with finesse, though. Asking questions about these types of ordinary tasks is important to understand their level of expertise. If you like, you can even specify what type of calendar you’re talking about. Or, you can identify it based on the person they will be assisting. This will make their answers more specific, giving you more information.

5. Can you discuss your experience with data entry and database management? What systems are you familiar with?

Data entry and database management are also common tasks, so the above applies. On top of that, knowing the systems they have used is also important. This question helps you to understand what they are used to and if they will handle your system well.

6. What types of documents are you experienced in preparing, and what software do you typically use for these tasks?

Every office handles documentation of some kind. Not every office prepares the same types of documents, though. You may be used to the paperwork that flows through your office. Don’t assume that every potential hire is used to handling the same types of documents. The same foes for the tools they use. You want to know how comfortable they will be integrating into your office and systems.

An administrative assistant at his desk. admin assistant interview questions

7. Do you have experience with budgeting or handling expense reports? Can you provide an example of how you’ve managed this in the past?

This is an expansion of the question above. Moreover, it asks for a specific real life example to get good details. (If you need more help with finaincial reports, check out EcomBalance!)

8. Describe a situation where you had to troubleshoot a technical issue with office equipment or software. How did you resolve it?

More than just how the candidate handles problems, you want to know if they can handle technical issues. Are they capable of solving the issue themselves? To what degree? If they can’t, do they know the right person to go to for help?

9. Have you ever been responsible for making travel arrangements? How do you ensure all details are covered?

This doesn’t have to be travel, but is an example of a complex task that has a lot of details connected to it. The point is to know how good the prospect is at not letting things fall through any cracks.

10. Tell me about a time you were involved in project coordination. What role did you play, and what tools did you use to stay organized?

Project coordination is a higher-level admin task, so not all jobs require it. Whether you are hiring for this or not, it’s good to know if the potential hire is capable of it. Or, maybe they can grow into a role like this if there’s an opportunity for it in the future.

A woman drawing a business workflow plan. admin assistant interview questions

Top behavioral admin assistant interview questions

Any good hire will have more than hard skills. You want to make sure they will function well on teams. This means checking how the respond in various situations.

1. Can you describe a time when you had to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously? How did you prioritize and manage your time?

Nothing can rattle someone’s cage quite like multitasking. Even for those who are used to doing more than one thing at the same time, it can be stressful. Multitasking is not something we humans do naturally – we just get used to handling it. So, this question will show you how cool the candidate will be when things get hot in the kitchen. Primarily, you want to know that they will not drop the ball.

2. Tell me about a challenging problem you encountered in a previous role and how you resolved it.

This is also a stressful situation, but different from troubleshooting a technical issue. Some people can detach and handle software issues but come undone when it’s interpersonal. Note what type of problem they bring up, and if they go back to the technical issue to avoid discussing a fresh one!

3. Give an example of a time when your attention to detail prevented a mistake at work.

Accuracy is a vital skill for a good administrative assistant. You want to know that they truly have good attention to detail. This is one of the admin assistant interview questions that helps you see it in action.

4. How do you adapt to last-minute requests in your work?

Some people can handle complex issues, but not if they happen suddenly. This is why we think it’s important to ask about last-minute requests. Just looking at their reaction when you ask this can tell you a lot!

5. Can you share an experience where you had to adapt to a significant change in the workplace? How did you handle it?

In a similar vein, some people might have trouble adjusting to big changes. This is very different from being able to cope with issues that pop up here and there. 

A man with a laptop concentrating on his work.

6.  Can you provide an example where you took the initiative to improve a process or solve a problem at work?

This is one of my personal favorite admin assistant interview questions. This will help you learn about hidden talents and skills a candidate might have. It also shows you their confidence level and helps you build rapport as you celebrate with them. Another key element to note is if their boast matches the value they delivered. If they seem arrogant, they may not be the best choice. If they are too humble, you can work with them so they won’t be too shy to make future contributions.

7. Describe how you organize and prioritize your tasks in a typical workday.

You need to know if the prospect is a self starter or someone in need of hand-holding. Always go for the former – you are hiring an assistant to help you stay organized, not the other way around!

8. Share an instance where you had to make a difficult decision quickly. What was the outcome?

This is one of the admin assistant interview questions you want to pay close attention to. If you have someone who can think on their toes and also make good decisions, you have found a gem. Most people will freeze or choose poorly.

9. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed at work?

Learning about how a candidate handles hurdles is vital. You want to know that they will tackle problems in a healthy way for themselves and everyone else they work with. 

A girl holding her face while looking at her laptop screen.

Top soft skills interview questions for hiring administrative assistants

Hiring soft skills are just as important as hard skills. These are all the interpersonal aspects that make relationships with coworkers and clients flow smoothly.

1. How would you describe your communication style and how has it been effective in your administrative roles?

Good communication is essential. Everyone at Outsource School knows that this is one of Nate and Connor’s top, non-negotiable qualities in any prospect! Communication can be systematized, but also has personal elements to it. You want to know that you can communicate with your assistant easily because you will be talking a lot. Your assistant needs to be able to adapt to you quickly and understand you very well. 

2. What approach do you take to build relationships with colleagues and clients in a new workplace?

People engage in very different ways, and that’s not bad. This is just part of everyone’s uniqueness. Not all of these ways are suitable for the workplace, though. Check to make sure they are behaving professionally. In addition, you want to learn about them personally through this question. Their answer will show a lot about their character and personality.

3. Describe a situation where you had to explain complex information to someone who didn’t have your expertise. How did you ensure they understood?

There’s a delicate balance sometimes when interacting with people. This situation will show you how intuitive and caring the candidate is. You don’t want the other person to feel like you’re either talking over their head or obviously dumbing things down. It also shows how patient they are and how they adjust in what can be a challenging interaction.

4. Tell me about a time you had to collaborate with a difficult colleague. How did you manage the relationship and the project?

As above, their response to a challenging interaction can tell you a lot about them. The best administrative assistants will always know how to work well with others and treat them with respect. This real life scenario will give you specific details that will help you understand their responses even better.

5. How do you handle situations where a colleague or client is frustrated or upset?

Similarly, someone who may not be generally difficult but is currently upset can be a challenge. Pay close attention to how they might change their tone or tactics for communicating with this person. Ask follow-up questions is you need to about how they might escalate this concern to get help. Or. if they might take it outside of that specific conversation and start some ugly gossip. 

A man screaming into a phone.

6. What role do you typically play when working in a team?

The role that any candidate is used to will inform how they perform in that role. It can also affect how they will do in a different role. Understand their comfort zones and if they are willing and able to step outside of them.

7. What strategies do you use to ensure you provide excellent customer service and maintain professionalism in all your workplace interactions?

This and similar admin assistant interview questions will give you greater insight into a prospect’s true attitude. Clear strategies will show that they are driven to serve with excellence.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The role of administrative assistant may seem very ordinary and uncomplicated. Finding really good help, however, is not that simple or easy. This is why we put together these interview questions for you. They are the best ones we have used ourselves at Outsource School to find those hidden gems. We hope they help you so the same!


Virtual Assistants

20 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring an Executive Assistant in 2024

A man smiling while being asked executive assistant interview questions on a video call.

What executive assistant interview questions should I be asking potential candidates?

You’ve done it. You’ve scrolled through digital stacks of resumes and you’ve narrowed it down to a select few. They’ve got impressive resumes and well-written cover letters, but now the next step is the initial interview. You might even have a few interview questions for your job candidates ready. Maybe you’re completely new to this and you don’t even know what to ask. 

Whatever the case, we’re here to help with 20 questions covering topics like skills, experience, behavior, and career goals. 

Interview Questions to Evaluate Candidates’ Skills and Qualifications

1. Can you describe your previous experience as an executive assistant & the specific tasks & responsibilities you handled?

This question gives you a great overview of their experience and what they can bring to the table. This gives you a chance to compare their answers to what they’ve written on their resume and cover letter. You can also ask about specific experiences they’ve listed on either of these application documents. It’s important to keep note of this because this sets the expectation of what they can deliver. 

2. How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines?

An executive assistant (EA) should be no stranger to juggling tasks. This question gives you insight into their work and productivity habits and their discipline when it comes to getting things done. It also reveals their ability to judge which tasks require more time and effort to complete. Do they know how to categorize tasks, divide their efforts, and set apart adequate time for each? Time management and organization are two qualities that are crucial to prevent dropping the ball.  

3. Describe a situation where you had to handle confidential information. How did you maintain discretion?

It isn’t uncommon for executive assistants to handle sensitive company, partner, or customer data. Based on the way they answer this question, you’ll know if they are someone trustworthy. Even the way they talk about the topic itself can already clue you in. Are they aware of secure methods of storing and sending data? Are they familiar with confidentiality agreements? 

Two women handling confidential documents.

4. How do you handle situations where an executive is unprepared for a meeting?

This isn’t to say executives are sloppy or uninvolved. The reality is, sometimes these high-ranking businessmen are constantly jumping from one important thing to another. I mean, that’s one reason they would need an EA in the first place. 

This is about seeing how resourceful and adaptable EAs are. Can they condense information and get executives up to speed quickly? 

Also, on top of these general executive assistant interview questions, feel free to take opportunities to ask follow-up questions like:

  • What other steps (if any) have they taken preemptively to help their boss? 
  • Were they able to find a way to reschedule the meeting? 

5. What software tools do you use in your daily tasks as an executive assistant? How proficient are you with them?

In this age, proficiency in software is almost a “must mention”. Executive assistants have more on their plate than most assistants do and software can definitely improve their productivity and accuracy. If they know how to automate certain tasks, this means they have more bandwidth to focus on more complex ones. You can also find out if they are familiar with tools you already use internally. More than that, this gives them an opportunity to offer other technical solutions with their own expertise. 

6. Tell me about your previous experience with event planning/managing a calendar/managing an inbox.

This can show you how they organize, coordinate, and plan.They must be able to plan things months in advance. Scheduling must happen in a way that executives can complete all their obligations without one single day being overbooked. 

This also shows how effective they are at managing internal and external communications and replying to key personnel. 

7. How do you ensure effective written communication on behalf of an executive?

Here’s where a resume cover letter can be a great way to tell how effectively someone communicates. You can assess their tone, level of professionalism, etiquette, clarity, brevity, and general writing prowess. 

You can also ask if they have experience with email management. If so, this could mean they have experience responding to people of various positions. The ability to adjust tone based on who they are speaking to show valuable flexibility when communicating. 

8. What strategies do you use to manage travel arrangements, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness?

Travel can get expensive and hectic. Would they think of ways to maximize all the traveling happening? Like, for instance, would they consider registering you for a frequent flier program or other passive benefits?

It’s important to have complete accommodations and comfortable travel arrangements. However, they must also know the limits of what’s modest and what’s bordering on lavish. Though, this does vary depending on the preferences of the executives. 

9. What is an accomplishment you’re proud of?

This not only shows you what they are capable of but also shows you what they value. In fact, we’d say this is one of the most insightful executive assistant interview questions you can ask. A good follow up question could center around why that accomplishment made them feel proud. This reveals what lessons they learned from that experience. Were they proud because of the hard work it took to get there? Was it because they valued helping the company succeed? Was it working alongside other talented individuals as a team?

5 hands piled on top of each other as a symbol of teamwork.

Behavioral Interview Questions to Assess Candidates’ Experience and Behavior in Certain Scenarios

10. Tell me about a time when you had to step in to represent an executive in a professional setting.

Sometimes executives cannot be present for certain meetings. They may task their EA to give a presentation, relay information, or stand in on their behalf. An EA also relays information back to the executive. 

There’s a great deal of trust put into an EA if they are to be a mouthpiece for those in top positions. Thus, an EA must be knowledgeable and well-researched on the topic. They also need to be a good spokesperson. They should be ready to answer rudimentary questions about the topic. 

11. How do you handle challenging personalities at work?

When you’re working with a team, not everyone is going to be equally enthusiastic or cooperative. Sometimes there can be a difference in opinion or idea when beginning a project. 

Butting heads can happen, but how will they be able to mitigate work conflict? This is one of the most important executive assistant interview questions.

Assess their responses and ask yourself:

  • Would they be able to keep a cool head and stay calm? 
  • Could they still communicate effectively to get deadlines met? 
  • How would they resolve conflict if it were to occur? 
  • Would they try to fix things with the person privately or go directly to HR? 

All of these are an important glimpse into their people-skills, values, professionalism, attitude, and compatibility with your company work culture. 

12. How do you handle difficult or demanding requests from other employees or executives?

This question is not simply to gauge their ability to work within a tight timeframe or under pressure. An executive assistant should be capable of handling a comparatively heavier workload than other assistants. However, it’s also about their ability to assess how plausible these demands are. Can they give a more realistic timeframe based on their experience? Are they able to communicate honestly if something is unrealistic in that time period?

However, this also reveals what their first response would be. It’s not a very good sign if their first instinct is to try and push the deadline. 

13. Can you describe a challenging situation you’ve faced as an executive assistant and how you overcame it?

This is your opportunity to evaluate their problem-solving skills, resourcefulness, and creativity. In fact, depending on the situation they describe, you can get a good feel for their soft skills, personality, and tenacity. 

Challenges also teach people something. How did they make sure that this never happened again, or how did they equip themselves afterward? 

14. Describe a time when you had to handle conflicting priorities in your work as an executive assistant.

There will be times where deadlines or tasks clash with one another. In these instances, you need someone who knows which ones take precedence over others. This can reveal their thought process and critical thinking abilities. Do they have strategies or solutions they use to help them with things like this? 

For instance, the Eisenhower Matrix or Urgent-Important Matrix is a valuable concept for any executive assistant to know. It helps sort tasks based on importance and urgency.

Eisenhower Matrix for executive assistant task management.

Additional Interview Questions to Evaluate Candidates’ Fit for the Company Culture

15. How do you stay organized in a fast-paced work environment?

With a lot to get done and with limited time, it can be easy for organization to take a back seat. It can snowball into disorder very quickly unless it’s managed. This question helps give you insight into how candidates maintain order through healthy habits or the help of software. It isn’t so much about doing everything to avoid disorganization. Rather, it’s about what they do to ensure it doesn’t stay that way and cause issues down the line.

16. How do you handle stress and pressure in your role as an executive assistant?

Morale and mental health play an important role in the workplace. The lack of a healthy outlet can be detrimental. You can ask them to describe a stressful situation and evaluate their stress response and coping strategies. A negative stress response could affect both their health and their work in the long term. 

This is one of the executive assistant interview questions that can also turn into an opportunity to build rapport with your potential hire. You can also take this opportunity to reassure your candidate that you care about a healthy work environment.                      

17. Can you provide an example of a time when you collaborated with a team to solve a problem?

”Works well with others” should be a requirement. After all, they are likely going to manage or oversee several departments of assistants. You can ask them about their role in the project and the experience of working with others. How did they overcome obstacles? How did they celebrate? Was there some kind of debrief after? 

Some insights you can glean based on their answers: 

  • Their leadership ability/ ability to delegate 
  • What they contribute to a team 
  • Their ability to take suggestions and manage people 

18. How do you anticipate the needs of an executive and proactively assist them?

The main thing this question gauges is their ability to take initiative. Initiative takes foresight and observation. Are they sharp and attentive? Do they bring attention to potential problem areas and come up with ideas to solve them before they arise?

Questions to Assess Candidates’ Long-term Goals and Career Aspirations

19. Where do you see yourself in the next five years in your career as an executive assistant?

Note their career goals and milestones. Where do they see themselves in the long term? Do they care about building their career in this field? Is this job a good stepping stone towards those goals? Does their mission align with the company’s?

20. What motivates you to continue growing and improving in your role as an executive assistant?

Driving force is important. It can mean the difference between a job-hopper and a partner. Are they in it for the money and benefits or are they growth-minded? Do they care about building a career? Are they passionate about this or are they just trying to make ends meet? Would they be a good fit for your company’s mission-vision and culture?

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The interview process can be nerve-wracking for both parties. Sometimes the difference between a good answer and a great one lies with how you frame the question. We hope these executive assistant interview questions will serve as a useful template for that next job interview. 

If you want to know why we use Slack to interview, click on over.

Virtual Assistants

Executive Assistant Job Description: Template with Examples for 2024

Standard Operating Procedures for an executive assistant job description.

To hire the best help in 2024, you need an updated executive assistant job description. Times are always changing, so we have to stay on top of the trends. This means clarifying role responsibilities, adding skill requirements, and verifying that your offer is an attractive one. In this post, we’ll go over all that plus provide templates. This way, you can see what your executive assistant job description should look like.

What Is the Role of an Executive Assistant?

A good executive assistant job description will have a wide array of skills. They will also have a higher level of proficiency in executing all kinds of admin virtual assistant tasks. Executive assistants have diverse responsibilities and provide crucial services within a business. They function at the executive level. So, what they do and how they do it can actually spell success or failure for the business. Sure, these tasks look simple enough – booking flights and hotel stays, making restaurant reservations for meetings, taking and making phone calls, calendaring appointments, generating reports, managing documents, and the like. 

Managing the office of a company executive, however, is not so easy. Mistakes at this level are not as forgivable because this office is the end of the line. No one else is going to come along to check an executive assistant’s work. No one is going to save the day. The tasks themselves are also stricter. Travel arrangements are often within tight schedules. Reservations must be in appropriate settings and with high-level service for important meetings. Phone conversations as a representative of this high office must be executed without room for complaint.

How To Write an Executive Assistant Job Description

The way you write the job description itself is vital. This is what prospective candidates will read first and base their initial interest on. The best ones will be looking for attractive opportunities because they know the value of their work. So, you need to craft the description to carefully include key elements that grab their attention. At the same time, unqualified candidates will hesitate to apply when they read your requirements.

Job Brief

A job brief comes at the top of your description. It defines the reason and purpose for the job. It explains what you want the position to contribute to your company for the next year or so. This description also outlines the tasks that you expect the right candidate to execute and how often. For instance, is it a daily job requiring 8 hours of work, 5 days a week? Finally, the brief must clearly show what it takes to be successful in the job.

You don’t need to be too specific here, because you’ll give more details later. Just say enough to paint an accurate overview of the job. The point is to let the right kind of people know within a minute of reading that it’s a job for them. This is also what you will base your executive assistant interview questions on.

Executive Assistant Responsibilities

An executive assistant provides high-level support to owners or executive officers of a company. They may also extend services to other senior staff members. This section is where you define the types of support and services you require.

Generally, an executive assistant will do clerical and administrative tasks for leadership staff. They might work exclusively for one executive and still liaison with other officers. Sometimes, however, you may want them to take care of other areas. For instance, you might want to task your executive assistant with the HR duty of recruiting and interviewing junior administrative staff for different departments. They are administrative experts, so they will know what to look for and who to hire.

Executive Assistant Skills and Qualifications

An executive assistant must, at the very least, have excellent time management and attention to detail. They need to be highly organized and are often required to be excellent verbal and written communicators. The offices of executives are often the busiest and most fast-paced in any company. So, assistants to these heads must also have the ability to function well in what can be a stressful environment. 

As expert administrative personnel, an executive assistant will have proven knowledge of general office administration and clerical procedures. These can include phone etiquette, record-keeping systems, note-taking, office software tools, and the like. Ultimately, it depends on the specific responsibilities and office setup.

Additional Information To Include in the Job Description

If you have any educational requirements or expectations around years or level of experience, include all the details. You might want them to work certain days and times and not on a regular schedule. If the job has physical or other special requirements not mentioned already, list them out. Whatever you need that isn’t explicitly clear, make sure you explain it.

Executive Assistant Job Description Examples

Below are a few examples of executive assistant job descriptions that you can take inspiration from.

Example 1. Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

executive assistant job description

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Example 2. Executive Assistant at an Ecommerce Business

executive assistant job description

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Example 3. Executive Assistant to Chief Marketing Officer at a Large Financial Services Company

executive assistant job description

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Experience Requirements for an Executive Assistant

Internship Opportunities

You might require specific types of experience. Some of these can only be obtained through special programs or by working similar roles at similar companies. If you can’t find an assistant who has these special skills, you can try hiring an intern. This avenue can cut costs, but might mean that you or one of your managers needs to do training. How extensive that training will be depends on how many special skills you require, and how difficult they are to learn.

By opening up intern-level positions, you will have an easier time finding the right candidate. You can teach them exactly what you want and they will gain the experience in a less demanding environment. This will turn out better for everyone in the long run as the grow into the higher-level position you are targeting. 

Most executive-level administrative positions require experience, even if it isn’t special experience. Look into hiring people who have worked as interns in the past. This means that they have a few years under their belts, focused on learning skills despite getting lower pay. 

Below are some websites where you can check out options for experience through internships. 

Entry-Level Positions vs Experienced Professionals

Entry-level positions do not require experience, but they may require some level of education. Usually, you want administrative assistants to have at least a high school diploma at this level. If you are looking for an executive-level assistant, you should target candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Some exceptions exist, however, and loads of special experience can trump a degree. Either way, make sure you are not preventing otherwise great candidates from applying because your requirements are too strict.

Most executive assistant posts require certain skills, whether it’s an entry-level position or a job for experienced professionals. For instance, any assistant will most likely need to know how to type, use the internet, take notes, and create reports and memos. They should also know the basics of how to book appointments, talk to clients and customers, file reports, set inter-departmental meetings, and the like. 

Salary Expectations for Executive Assistants

A pen on a bank cheque. executive assistant job description

Factors that Affect Salary Range for this Position

1. Experience

How many years someone has done the work you need will mean a higher rate. Experience equates to efficiency and a generally more valuable contribution to the company. Be prepared to pay more than the average rate if you want quality or special experience. The same goes for requiring many years in previous positions.

2. Industry

Some industries are more complex than others, which means that the work done within them is also more complex. Working as an executive assistant in the advertising and marketing sphere, for instance, is harder than in the eCommerce arena. Working in the smallest biotechnology company, however, would be much harder than in any digital agency. The industry will dictate many details of otherwise common tasks. For example, creating scientific reports can mean understanding nuclear chemistry. A report on monthly sales, on the other hand, entails simple math. The more specialized an assistant’s experience needs to be to excel at the job, the higher you need to pay to find the rare gems who can keep up with you.

3. Location

Hiring from different countries means paying different rate ranges. All other things being equal, this is because of two main factors. First, countries have differing costs of living. Second, a certain hourly rate can buy different amounts of goods in that location. Of course, everything costs different in different countries. The way you can measure an appropriate rate is to look at the costs of thebasics in each country. 

All that being said, here’s an example of the differences you can expect in average salaries of executive assistants. These are monthly rates for hires from the US and the Philippines:

  • Entry-level: US $4750-5250 vs. Philippines $850-1100
  • Mid-level: US $5250-6250 vs. Philippines $1100-1500
  • Expert: US $6250-7500 vs. Philippines $1500-2100

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

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A business owner or manager should never take lightly the task of hiring an executive assistant. Executive assistants perform many vital tasks within a business. This entails that they possess a broad skillset. A good assistant at this level is not easy to find, so it’s up to you to attract the best.